Stand-up comic Sumaira Shaikh talks about her latest production Dongri Danger

Sumaira was spotted by Sumukhi Suresh at an open mic
Sumaira Shaikh
Sumaira Shaikh

Unlike many other women in comedy, Sumaira Shaikh does not mind being asked, “How does it feel to be a woman in comics.” Keeping it simple, she says, “I am one, so I can’t avoid the question.” Shaikh’s show Dongri Danger, produced by Sumukhi Suresh, is already playing on Amazon Prime and has been listed as one of the top watched shows.

Sumukhi, who lived in Bengaluru and started her career in stand-up from the city, discovered Shaikh in 2015 from one of her shows. “I started stand-up in 2016, but a year prior in 2015, I had randomly done an open mic. It might sound filmy but Sumukhi  came to me and said, “You are so funny, if you ever do it full-time, then come to me...I will hire you,” laughs Shaikh. So in 2016, when she started doing comedy full-time, Shaikh went to her and ‘as discussed earlier’ asked Suresh to hire her. “That time she was doing Behti Naak, a YouTube show. I did get hired. Then when Pushpavalli started, I wrote it for her,” says Shaikh, who was considered shy rather than funny before she entered this line. 

Coming to Dongri, the show has stories of her growing up in Dongri (Mumbai), leading to the title of the show. “In the show, I give off a gangster vibe, so when Sumukhi and I were discussing the name, she suggested going with it. When I did the first live show, people also remembered me with this name,” says Shaikh. The show that is going on air is a live one  but one that is heavily rehearsed. So facing the camera for her was not difficult since she could predict the reactions. 

Shaikh was in Bengaluru in November 2021 for the physical tour of the show but could not visit again because of the cancellation of live shows due to the third wave of Covid. Although most of her jokes are in Hindi, she says people are able to connect with her material. “Hindi is my first language and hence I’m most comfortable with it. Otherwise, people who are coming to watch you, know what kind of comic you are, so a language barrier has not been a big issue,” says Shaikh, adding she feels Bengaluru is very accepting of any language. 

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